Belfast Telegraph

George Clooney: I fled missiles

George Clooney ran from missiles during his visit to Sudan.

The actor and human rights activist made the dangerous mission to the volatile border region between Sudan and South Sudan last week, ahead of the testimony he's giving before a US Senate committee today.

George and his camera crew witnessed burned-out villages and saw residents seeking shelter in caves following aerial attacks on their homes by Sudan's military.

In an interview with Today's Ann Curry, The Descendants star revealed his life threatening experience in the troubled area.

"We showed up in one village and there was - 150 people had come out and were cheering for us to come," he said.

"Clearly somebody had told them that we were coming... And then all of a sudden everyone just started running."

In footage of the incident George is seen suggesting heading into the caves with villagers for safety from rockets being fired. He says they were "close enough to feel it".

George blames Sudan's government and President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir for the past month's killing of 39 people in the village he visited.

"The same three guys... who were charged for war crimes in Darfur are the exact same people bombing innocent people."

The guerrilla conflict in the Sudan region of Darfur began in 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms. They accused the Sudan government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in favor of Sudanese Arabs.

The actor is now bringing light to the war between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan with his sixth trip to the region. He described the situation as "ethnic cleansing" and believes it was largely fueled by disagreements over the oil supplies.

"Right now what is going on in the Sudan changes the cost of your gas every single day of your life," he said. "If for no other reason than your economic interests, there is plenty of reason to make sure that your government is involved in trying to secure some form of peace."

George will encourage others to empathize with human suffering in the region as he testifies in Washington, D.C. before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about what he witnessed. He is meeting with US Secretary Hillary Clinton and American President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

"You feel an enormous, enormous sense of responsibility," he said. "We're only successful as a human race by how we look out for the people who can't look out for themselves."

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